'Oppenheimer' crew keeps it low key, other winners revel at Vanity Fair's Oscar after-party


LOS ANGELES — LOS ANGELES (AP) — Christopher Nolan stood as staid and nonchalant as ever as crowds surrounded him and music pulsed.

His celebration was limited to casually holding a best directing Oscar, his first, and one of seven on the night for his film.

The “Oppenheimer” crowd were hardly the hardest partiers at the Vanity Fair post- Oscars party on Sunday night, but they hardly needed to be, their hardware did all the preening for them.

Nolan’s wife, “Oppenheimer” producer Emma Thomas, held her own statuette, for best picture, and did most of the talking as waves of well-wishers descended on the couple.

They found a couch near the dance floor with their two children and were immediately met by a woman bearing a tray of In-N-Out burgers, the signature food at the signature Oscars after-party where end-of-award-season decadence is the norm.

Nolan did have the relax-it’s-all-over vibe down pat.

Billie Eilish soon strode by with two friends, her best original song Oscar slung in one arm. It was the lone Oscar won by the film that has stood opposite Oppenheimer since their simultaneous release in July, but it’s already the second for Eilish at age 22.

The Nolan clan left early, as the party was just getting started.

The annual affair is hosted by Vanity Fair editor Radhika Jones and held at a space built between Beverly Hills City Hall and the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

It’s one of several Oscar parties held across the city after the show. Most winners, including Nolan and Thomas on Sunday night, start the celebration at the Governor’s Ball, the official after-party in the same complex as the ceremony where you can get your statuette engraved on the spot.

The Vanity Fair dress code might be called “loosened black tie.” Many still wear their tuxes and gowns from the ceremony. Some come in more casual, but no less ornate, outfits.

Usher wore a white, sequined jacket over a bare chest. Barry Keoghan sported a similarly spangled jacket over a mesh tank top, looking not too different than his “Saltburn” character did when he ingratiated himself with the nobility.

The party’s guest list always extends well beyond Hollywood into music, fashion, literature and sports.

Serena Williams and LeBron James, who both have had a hand in producing in recent years, each hung out on the party’s patio.

The 6-foot-9 James was a star among stars as he towered over the crowd in a white tuxedo jacket and sunglasses while holding a glass of champagne. He became an instant magnet for photos.

At the entrance, where many walk their final awards season red carpet, Anya Taylor-Joy greeted Matteo Bocelli, who sang during the “In Memoriam” segment with his father, the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli.

“Were you nervous to sing? You did such a beautiful job,” she said.

“Grazie,” he answered.

Along with the ubiquitous In-N-Out, servers circulated with fried, cheese-stuffed squash blossoms and quattro formaggio pizza. Ke Huy Quan, last year’s best supporting actor winner for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and one of the men who presented it to Robert Downey Jr. for “Oppenheimer” this year, grabbed a slice of the pie after walking the carpet and scarfed it down like he hadn’t eaten all day.

The dance floor was closer to the center of the action than usual this year, giving the room more of a club vibe but making it harder to hear people, and to eavesdrop on conversations. The music leaned retro, with plenty of Prince and Michael Jackson.

As Earth, Wind and Fire’s ”September” blasted, Jon Hamm stood sipping a cocktail at the nearest bar, half-dancing along as he hugged Brett Goldstein of “Ted Lasso” and chatted with “Schitt’s Creek” star Catherine O’Hara. Hamm later talked and laughed at length with John Mulaney, a presenter during the show. The two exchanged cheek kisses as they parted ways.

Nearby, Jeffrey Wright, best actor nominee for “American Fiction,” talked intently to director John Waters.

Near them, “Anyone but You” and “Euphoria” star Sydney Sweeney stood in a white gown with fiancé Jonathan Davino at her side.

Outside, last year’s best director co-winner, Daniel Scheinert of “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” chatted with “Sound of Metal” actor Riz Ahmed, “Beef” actor Steven Yeun and Greta Lee, star of best picture nominee “Past Lives.”

At least one “Oppenheimer” winner got a little rowdy. As midnight approached, Ludwig Göransson, who won his own second musical Oscar for writing the film’s score, tore up the dance floor, shimmying and moonwalking with his statuette in one hand.

His wasn’t the only Oscar on the floor. Other lesser-known faces danced alongside him, celebrating the instant invitation a win gets you, regardless of the category or your fame, to the absurdly star-studded party where the tiny statues are the real celebrities.



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